Oldboy (2013 remake)

tn_oldboyBefore I talk about the remake of OLDBOY it’s important that I say I liked the original but only saw it one time 8 years ago. Here’s what I wrote about it then.

In the remake directed by Spike Lee and written by Mark Protosevich (THE CELL, I AM LEGEND), Josh Brolin (THRASHIN’) plays a Nick Nolte character named Joe Doucett. He’s an alcoholic, sexually harassing deadbeat dad and advertising asshole who after a long night of drinking, puking and crying in 1993 meets a woman who takes him to a hotel and when he wakes up he realizes she’s not there and there are no windows or doorknobs. One of those hotel conundrums, you know. And this was before Yelp and shit like that so he couldn’t even give them a bad review. Turns out this is not a normal hotel in that you can’t leave. Someone, for some reason, has locked him in this weird prison. Every day they stick a plate of dumplings and a bottle of vodka through a hatch in the door, but they don’t tell him why he’s here.
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Obsessed

tn_obsessedI guess Beyonce Knowles released a “surprise album” on iTunes on Friday. They didn’t announce it in advance or anything and word spread like word spreads on the internet and holy shit it became the number one selling digital file album of such and such. Everybody lost their shit and wrote headlines and everything. Amazing! Revolutionary! It may seem like a clever attention-getting gimmick for a star of her size to not bother with marketing, but here’s the truth: her husband Jay-Z knew through the Illuminati that I had just watched Beyonce’s Christmas-time thriller OBSESSED and was about to put up a review. So she knew she had to rush the album’s release in order to take advantage of that extra spotlight. Your welcome, Beyonce.

Like in DIE HARD, the shit goes down at an office Christmas party for some L.A. financial something-or-other firm. But instead of faux-terrorists taking over the building it’s a stalker executive assistant trying to take a married man. Lisa (Ali Larter from FINAL DESTINATION) is a temp who’s been breathing all over Derek Charles (Idris Elba, GHOST RIDER’S SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE), listening in on his phone calls, finding out too much about him, putting him in uncomfortable situations. The camera makes her seductive, zeroing in on her crossed legs when she sits near him, her glossed lips when she smiles at him. (read the rest of this shit…)

R.I.P. Tom Laughlin

tn_tomlaughlinWell, we lost some cinema icons today. Peter O’Toole of course. I’m not the guy to write the definitive tribute for him, but here’s a piece I wrote when I saw LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm a couple years ago. And one on THE STUNT MAN. And, uh, SUPERGIRL.

Also Joan Fontaine from REBECCA and SUSPICION died, so there will be some good tributes to her. She was 96.

But me being who I am I want to write a few words about Tom Laughlin, whose family announced today that he died on Thursday. He was 82, a year older than O’Toole! I was surprised to read that. Laughlin was an actor, writer and director who occupied a unique corner in the history of Badass Cinema and independent film and I don’t think alot of the young people know about him. So put your learning pants on.

“Put your learning pants on” and related phrases and merchandising are © 2013 by Vern

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Whiskey Mountain

tn_whiskeymountainWHISKEY MOUNTAIN is an obscure movie I came across through my usual Slasher Search method of scanning for VHS boxes in the horror section. It’s from 1977 and I’m pretty sure it was made after the filmatists saw 1974′s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but you could probly stick it in the DELIVERANCE redneck attack type of genre more than in horror.

This is the story of two couples who take their dirtbikes up into some mountains in search of treasure. Like in TEXAS CHAIN SAW they’re looking for family property they vaguely know about, and a local business proprietor warns them they don’t want to be nosing around on other people’s property. Also like in CHAIN SAW that local shows up later on as one of the attackers. (read the rest of this shit…)

Homefront

tn_homefrontHOMEFRONT is a Jason Statham vehicle with an interesting pedigree: screenplay by Sylvester Stallone (Academy Award nominated writer of ROCKY), meth manufacturing villain played by James Franco (Academy Award nominated lead for 127 HOURS), James Franco’s girlfriend played by Winona Ryder (Academy Award nominee for LITTLE WOMEN and THE AGE OF INNOCENCE). Unfortunately the weak link is director Gary Fleder (CableACE Award winner for an episode of Tales From the Crypt), who’s just the guy who did KISS THE GIRLS and RUNAWAY JURY and stuff like that. He’s not terrible but also not the type of strong director that could shoot a bullseye with a simple story like this.

This is the second movie in a row where Statham starts out wearing a long hair wig. This time it’s because he’s a DEA agent undercover in a biker gang. He busts the kingpin Danny T (Chuck Zito), whose son gets shot to death by other cops. Danny and his gang want to kill the shit out of him for this so he has to shave his hair. Also he either goes into witness protection or just retires and moves to a small town somewhere in Louisiana. (read the rest of this shit…)

Green Street 3: Never Back Down

tn_greenstreet3You guys know I got a soft spot for the unlikely DTV franchise. Back in the day I loved to review ‘em for The Ain’t It Cool News. Sequels to WILD THINGS, CRUEL INTENTIONS, ROAD HOUSE, THE HOLLOW MAN… movies that really had no business getting sequelized, it made no sense, but there they were on the video store racks. Or now on the VOD menu or something. Of course, very few thrive in this medium. UNDISPUTED is a rare exception, and since it was originally about boxing it wasn’t that much of a stretch to turn it into this generation’s BLOODSPORT. Most of these sequels are not high quality like that, they’re mildly amusing at best, so I should probly stop wishing for those DTV followups to GHOST DOG and REDBELT (starring Harry Lennix). They would probly lead to disappointment. (read the rest of this shit…)

Mandela

tn_mandelaWell, I didn’t want to trivialize the passing of Nelson Mandela by having my dumbass post about it on my websight where I write about Van Damme movies and shit. And right in the middle of a GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS DTV sequel series. Doesn’t seem respectful. But then I started to feel like kind of an asshole for not acknowledging it at all. As much as we all liked Paul Walker, in my opinion Mandela is a more important historical figure. Not to be controversial.

I’m no expert on the topic, I’m sure I know more about the legend of Mandela than the specific historical facts. But living in the world at the same time as him was inspiring and amazing. Going through life for so many years taking for granted the story of the revolutionary jailed for opposing an unjust regime, just knowing him as a cause more than a person, then seeing him not only freed, and the wicked system he fought against ended, but seeing him become their democratically elected leader? Incredible. And then he lived to 95 and died naturally. Not bad. (read the rest of this shit…)

Happy 15th Anniversary of Gus Van Sant’s PSYCHO!

tn_psycho15thYes it’s true, 15 years ago ago today Universal unleashed the remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO from the director of DRUGSTORE COWBOY. I didn’t really pay attention but I’m sure everything turned out okay with that. And I see no reason why this new Village Voice piece of mine in which I write positive things about the movie should go over poorly.

I’m spending my evening planning a shot-for-shot-ish remake of the TV movie BATES MOTEL, hopefully with DJ Qualls in the Bud Cort role and with Vince Vaughn’s stunt double (or Jon Favreau) as Norman Bates. How are you celebrating?

Green Street Hooligans 2

tn_greenstreet2GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS 2: STAND YOUR GROUND opens with another BRAVEHEART style two-crowds-running-at-each brawl set to an upbeat punk anthem. But the ground they have to stand in this one is fenced in – they’re in the joint. It’s about exactly what you dreamed the DTV sequel to GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS would be about: one of the supporting characters from part 1 is in prison for the big fight they  got into at the end and continues to feud with the guy that killed Petey, now played by a different actor.

Ross McCall (SUBMERGED) triumphantly returns to his role of Dave, he was the guy who was the airline pilot, he called them up and warned them there were a bunch of guys that were gonna beat them up at the game or whatever. I don’t remember him being that important of a figure but prison is one of those small ponds that makes his fish parts look bigger or whatever. It’s just him and two oafs we never saw before from the GSE (Green Street Enthusiastic Soccer Fans Club dot org) and all the sudden he’s the brains of the operation, he acts like the leader and they follow him around and stuff. McCall is good actually, I had to look him up to make sure he was in the first one because he has a much stronger presence here, he seems like a different guy. (read the rest of this shit…)

Green Street Hooligans

tn_greenstreetGREEN STREET HOOLIGANS (as we call GREEN STREET in America) is a very watchable but meat-headed movie about assholes (as we call cunts in America) obsessed with soccer (as we call soccer in America) and exploiting the American fascination with English exoticism. Elijah Wood (THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Extended Edition Blu-Ray + Blu-Ray 3D + UltraViolet Digital Copy combo pack) plays Matt Buckner, a young writer who gets unfairly expelled from Harvard and decides to go visit his sister (Claire Forlani, POLICE ACADEMY: MISSION TO MOSCOW) and her family in London. His brother-in-law Steve (Marc Warren) wants to get rid of him so he sends him to a soccer game with his little brother Petey (Charlie Hunnam). So they go out to drink beer and sing songs with the fellas and then go to the game. (read the rest of this shit…)